Chris Haynes of Ermine Street Guard gets MBE

Congratulations to Chris Haynes on his MBE in the Birthday Honours.

The Gloucestershire Echo makes the announcement:

Chris Haines has been granted the royal seal of approval for his commitment to researching the Roman era.The 63-year-old from Bentham has been made an MBE for his services to Roman history.

He has been at the helm of historical group the Ermine Street Guard for the past 35 years, re-enacting military displays and striving to recreate period armour and equipment as accurately as possible.

The father-of-two said: “I was absolutely flabbergasted when I got the letter. I had to give it to my son half way through reading it and ask him if what it was saying was true.”

He is looking forward to meeting the Queen again. Mr Haines said: “I've met her with the Ermine Street Guard in the past but not under these circumstances.”

The retired farmer was a founder member of the historical society, which was set up in 1972 after being asked to take part in a pageant in St Mary's Church Witcombe.

He said: “The group formed just to do a one-off historical event. But as we had spent so much time on it we decided to carry on afterwards and focus on the Roman era.”

The group now has 60 members from all over the country. They research and reconstruct the armour of their chosen era and are regularly called upon to help bring history to life in schools and take part in public exhibitions.

Their realistic reenactments, which involve using artillery pieces, have also seen members appear on documentaries and historical programmes, such as the Channel Four show Time Team.

Mr Haines said: “There is a sociable and fun side to what we do but there is also a serious educational side too. I have pride in the group and a high sense of achievement. I feel I'm accepting the MBE on behalf of the group.”

The Ermine Street Guard have also taken part in several reenactments from Chedworth Roman Villa, near the ancient Roman town of Cirencester. To find out more about the group go to www.erminestreetguard.co.uk

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